Lilla Cabot Perry Oil Portrait, ca. 1915
GUEST 1: We brought a painting that we purchased back in 1986. The artist we now know is Lilla Cabot Perry.
You both seem quite young to be collecting art in 1986. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
GUEST 2: Well, even as young children, our grandmother and our parents have always taught us to appreciate older things, and paintings in particular. Even when we were little kids in diapers, we would go to museums and we would take trips on Saturday mornings to go to yard sales to find little treasures.
GUEST 1: I was about 16.
GUEST 2: And I was eight.
GUEST 1: And she was eight. We were Saturday, on an early morning looking at the newspaper and going through the "For Sale" section looking for sales to go to, and came across this ad, and we hit the road and went down to see it.
What did you pay for the painting?
GUEST 1: At that time it was $500.
Okay, so $500 in 1986.
GUEST 1: Yes.
And did you have any idea when you were buying it that this was an important artist or an artist that had a history?
GUEST 1: No. We just bought it because we loved the subject matter.
GUEST 2: We fell in love with it, yeah.
GUEST 1: We thought she was charming.
And since then, have you learned anything else about the artist or maybe the subject of the painting?
GUEST 1: Back then, we had it professionally cleaned.
GUEST 1: And the restorer commented on how nice it was.
GUEST 1: And said, "Maybe you could do a little bit of research and find out who the sitter was." And we were able to figure out that this is Edith, the granddaughter of Lilla Cabot Perry. And the doll's name is Caroline.
Oh, very sweet. I believe Edith was born in 1909, given what looks to be possibly a six-year-old or something close to that. My guess is that it's circa 1915, though the painting is not dated. This is an oil-on-canvas painting. Her major portraits were always oil-on-canvas. Lilla Cabot Perry is a very well-known Boston artist. She was born here in Boston. The Cabot family is a prominent Boston family. And she spent a lot of time here, also spent a lot of time in France. She was actually neighbors with Claude Monet during the summer.
GUEST 2: Really?
She summered there I think about ten summers, and she kind of became a pioneer of his work back here in the States, promoting him, and really along with Mary Cassatt was one of the pioneers of bringing French Impressionism to America. So not only is she well known because of her paintings being so beautiful, but because she really brought people to understand what the French Impressionists were doing. I would say a current auction estimate for this painting would be at least $40,000 to $60,000.
GUEST 2: Wow. Really?
And I would say that's conservative.
GUEST 1: Wow.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.